Dedicated to the women who RIDE THEIR OWN motorcycles  

MAKING YOUR SPORTSTER FIT YOU

by Jennifer B.

What makes your bike “yours”? Customizing it, of course! Aside from the chrome customizing, you should also customize your bike to fit you. I ride a 2001 883 Sportster Hugger and, being fairly short at 5’ 3”, I had to do some customizing to make the Hugger fit me.

One of the very first things I did was adjust the buckhorn handlebars. Some people do not like the buckhorns at all, but for me, they are very comfortable, once they have been adjusted. To properly adjust the buckhorn bars, take an eyeliner and draw a straight line from the base of your thumb down your hand to just past your wrist bone. Now sit on the bike as you normally would and grip the bars. Is the line straight? If not, then adjust the bars up or down until the line is straight. Having the bars adjusted properly will help with wrist fatigue.

The next thing I did was change out the stock seat. I liked the looks of the stock seat but ouch! It really wasn’t very comfortable. I couldn’t get a seat that raised me up any higher or splayed my legs apart due to my short legs. I looked at a variety of seats and talked to a lot of different people about what they had on their bikes. I decided to go with the Mustang Fastback seat. It’s very narrow at the nose and VERY comfortable.

I have a detachable windshield on my bike which is just at the wrong height for me; I look straight across the top of the shield. Preferably, you should be looking over your windshield. I plan on cutting down my windshield using the techniques found here: http://www.tidyville.net/ (scroll down under “cosmetic tips” then “cutting windshield”.

Even though I have short legs, I put forward controls onto my bike for comfort. I kept bruising my shins on the stock controls when I’d back up the bike. I used the Harley Davidson controls and am very happy with them. If you’re comfortable with a wrench (or have a friend who is), they are fairly easy to install.

You can lower your bike with either a lowering kit or by replacing the shocks. As my Hugger is low enough for me, I cannot speak from personal experience as to which is a better method for lowering.

As you get to know your ride I’m sure there are other things you can do to make the bike more comfortable for you. These are just some of the things I’ve done to make my Hugger fit me and be a more enjoyable/comfortable ride.

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From Jennifer:
"I've been riding since August, 2000 and currently ride a 2001 Sportster
883 Hugger." Jen is an active poster in many online forums but spends the majority of her time in the
Harley-Davidson Women Riders (HDWR) and
Women Who Ride (WWR) forums.

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